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Cruise Ship Owners No Longer Immune from Medical Malpractice Claims

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently ruled that cruise ship owners can be held vicariouly liabile for harm caused to passengers by medical malpractice committed by the ship's medical staff. Franza v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., Case No. 13-13067 (Nov. 10, 2014). This decision reverses longstanding precedent that immunized cruise ship owners from such claims regardless of how egregious the malpractice was. The court reasoned that the historical grant of immunity to cruise ship owners was based upon conditions that no longer existed. Years ago when a cruise ship left the dock it was "off the grid" with little opportunity to avail itself of the full range of m

Medicare Cites 12 Minnesota Hospitals for High Rate of Hospital-Acquired Infections and Bed Sores

Medicare will penalize 12 Minnesota hospitals for having an unacceptably high rate of patients with hospital-acquired infections, bed sores and other preventable injuries. The infections at issue are linked to use of urinaty cathethers and central lines, often used in the ICU. The penalty will be a 1% reduction in Medicare reimbursement rates for these hospitals. The hospitals cited are: Cambridge Medical Center, Cambridge Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Brainerd Essentia Health Virginia, Virginia Fairview Northland Medical Center, Princeton Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis Maple Grove Hospital, Maple Grove Olmsted Medical Center, Rochester Regions Hospital, St. Paul

NEJM: Medical Malpractice Reform Has No Impact on Cost of Patient Care in Emergency Room

Tort reform advocates argue that fear of lawsuits drive up the cost of emergency room care by prompting doctors to order unnecessary and expensive tests. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, however, undercuts this notion. Waxman, "The Effect of Malpractice Reform on Emergency Department Care," N Eng J Med, 2014; 371: 1518-1525 (Oct. 16, 2014). The study looked at the impact of malpractice reform in three states--Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia. Each state enacted laws to shield emergency department doctors from lawsuits unless the patient could prove that the doctor consciously disregarded the need to use reasonable care with the knowledge that their actions were likely

Appeal Filed in Wisconsin to Test Constitutionality of Medical Malpractice Cap on Damages

Earlier in 2014, a Milwaukee County jury awarded nearly $25 million to Ascaris Mayo, a 53-year old mother of four who lost all four limbs due to medical malpractice. The award included approximately $15 million in non-economic damages for the woman's pain, suffering and disability and her husband's lost of consortium. Although Wisconsin law caps non-economic damages at $750,000 for patients injured by malpracice, the trial court judge later ruled that the law was unconstitutional as applied to the facts of this case and upheld the jury's decision. On December 4, 2014, a Notice of Appeal was filed in the case to challenge the trial court's ruling that the cap should not apply to this case. Gi

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